In 2018, my New Year’s resolution was to fall in love with a man who had his own parents so I didn’t have to spend Christmas with mine. You might think criteria that consists of ‘no orphans’ would do the trick but twelve months on I’m still as solitary as the fairy on top of the Christmas tree.
This week I read a ponderous article in The Atlantic (is there any other kind?) that restated the cliche that the Millennial and I hate above all others: ‘dating is a numbers game.’ According to this theory, you’re single because you’ve not met enough men, when our problem is we’ve met far more men than we can stand already. The Millennial, for instance, dated relentlessly throughout the whole of his twenties and is rewarding himself on his 30th birthday (happy birthday heavenly Millennial) by giving up like all the rest of us. By rights, there ought to be a thousand think pieces about how the singles have all gone on strike against the apps that oppress us. Instead, there are just endless articles about how Millennials aren’t having any sex anymore, which only causes me to wonder who the hell they’re surveying since Tinder has unleashed, to my certain knowledge, a chaos of sex unrivalled since the dying days of Ancient Rome.
Yes, here I am, as stuck as the scratched Blondie record my mother gave me for Christmas, going on and on and on about how we’ve Bumbled and Happnd and Pofd for so many years it no longer makes sense. Dating is only a game if that’s how you define roulette, played out in the grottiest, least fun casino on earth. Sure, when we first approached the table, it was all very exciting. We had hope – that’s the chips. And we swiped so fast – that’s the spinning of the wheel. And any match might be our lucky number…
Only they weren’t. We staked our bets and lost. Our stock of chips runs down. Which only inspires desperation. You like the look of a number and pile everything on it, thinking to win back everything you’ve lost. We see other players screeching with happiness and making a great fuss. With this number – that looked so promising in the half-light – our hopes are up. But no, it goes the same way as all the others. We feel so embarrassed… Start to blame ourselves. Conscious that we need to keep a portion of our hope to deal with everything else that’s going on in our lives. That’s why we’re retiring, in ever increasing numbers, and if this were anything but metaphorical, and we’d lost all our money, casual observers would congratulate us for kicking a habit so manifestly depleting our existence.
And so we do, we serial daters, want to stop, we’ve had enough. In no other realm of human endeavour would we be congratulated for doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. ‘Albert Einstein said that was lunacy,’ says the sleepy Millennial, yawning and falling asleep on my sofa.
‘Perhaps,’ I reply, packing up my fairy in a box. ‘That is why they call me batshit crazy.’
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